Back in the Saddle Again

Or more literally, I’m back on Dauntless.

My transportation

Last week I returned to Dauntless, but then took a 5-day trip to Anchorage to attend a teaching job fair. I figure as long as I will be in the USA for the foreseeable future, I may as well work again and put my winter time to constructive use and replenish the coffers.

I spent much of the winter thinking of what had to be done on Dauntless. Since leaving Ireland two and a half years ago, I’ve asked for a lot from my little Kadey Krogen, but gave her only fuel and oil in return.

But 30 months, 10,000+ miles, 2100 engine hours later, the poor girl needs some TLC. While I revised and improved things like the paravane stabilizers as time went on, some other things, like my solar panels, were ignored, though I knew I needed to change the wiring from the controllers.

I also didn’t need to, but thought it was time to change the location of my fresh water tank selector. Too many times, I’ve had to sneak into the occupied second cabin in the middle of the night, open the closet, pull up the floor board and change the water tank so I could take a shower.  Since I’m working with water, I may as well also, change the selector valve for the water maker output.

It’s hard to see, but the re-charge fitting is at the very tip against the insulation for the copper tube.

So, I have a list of about a dozen improvements and corrections (to some older half-assed jobs of mine) to do. Plus, the normal stuff of putting away the clothes and accouterments of a “normal” life after merging a couple of households. Now, where to put those dozen suits?

I’d also come up with a plan as to not to waste money. I cook very well and like my cooking. I often eat out only because I like getting out, not because the food is better. In fact, often it’s not, yet expensive.

Day 1 of 60 days, the next two months, on my first free day, with the rental car that I’d picked up in Sacramento Airport the night before, and which had to be returned by 18:00 here in Vallejo, I would do my shopping at Costco to set me up for the next two months.

All goes according to plan, with only a little warning flag. The freezer only got down to 20°F in the first 18 hours. Usually, it is minus 5°. Did it just need more time, I wished and hoped?

You all know that hope. The hope that is not based on any reason or even history. It’s just a hope that you don’t have to deal with it

So of course, on Day 2 of 60, instead of starting my dozens of projects I’d planned, I’m dealing with stuff that isn’t even on the list.

Freezer temperature is still too high. My Costco ice cream is more like a slurpy. First thing I did was to look online for solutions. Not hard, and in fact, on Cruiser’s Forum, there was a really well written story of re-charging the Freon in (my) BD50F Danfoss compressor. Not so hard, just finding a coupling fitting will be a PIA.

I check out the re-charge fitting and I notice the first fly in the ointment. I’ll have to move the entire compressor to get at the re-charge fitting, as it’s tucked up against the insulated copper tube for the refrigerant.

My compressor is behind the freezer, under the pilot house settee. Getting to the securing screws require an agility I never had. Yet again one of those situations in which a trained monkey would be very valuable.

By noon, the compressor is moved enough to start phase 2. Finding Freon.

Taking my new acquired $60 bicycle, it was only 10 minutes to the NAPA store. Sure enough, they have Freon, but not the hoses or fittings to connect it. I buy a can in any case. (Why you wonder, without the hose??)

Then, as I am walking out the door, I realize that I still need the hoses and connectors, so I may as well go to the nearby Autozone. Said Autozone was much better equipped than the NAPA and not only are their prices lower, they have a number of options with Freon and hose together. I still needed an adapter hose to connect the car sized fitting to my bicycle style fitting used on the Danfoss compressors.

The Freon I found

They had something that may work, so I get that too, promising not to hurt the packaging so I can return it if need be.

Decide I may as well, return the Freon I got at NAPA. Apologize for that.

Get back to the boat and get ready to get to work.

As I am gently moving the compressor, trying not to make a small problem into a much bigger one by rupturing a coolant tube, I notice that the muffin fan that sits between the compressor and the radiator is not turning. I stick my finger in it to make sure and it’s still not turning.

Well, that will teach me to diagnose the problem on the internet.

Yes, Freon may still be an issue, but before I do anything, I need to get the fan working. There is no way I can take the old fan out without moving the entire compressor to a more assessable location.

But guess what? I have muffin fans! At least three or four!! Why? You wonder? Because back in the day, year one (as Asians would count it), the muffin fan went out in my inverter. The inverter overheats and shuts off pretty soon without the fan.

My job complete, The bottom back of the freezer is on the right

I bought 4 muffin fans online, they were advertised as being very quiet and would last forever.  Spares are good. Of course, par for the course, once I took the old muffin fan out of the inverter, I realized the fan rotor had just fallen out of its housing. I just needed to glue it and put it back. It’s worked the last 5 years without a hitch. Though of course, noting is that easy. I cut the wires very short when I pulled it out, so of course, it took half a day to reconnect them.

But now, when I really needed one, I had muffin fans to spare.

I installed it on the opposite side of the radiator, so that it blows thru the radiator, the defunct fan and the compressor. I hooked it up to an external 12v power because before I went to the trouble of hooking it up normally, I wanted to make sure it was the solution to the problem.

Within hours the temperature of the freezer was down to zero. By morning, it was -5°.

I was good to go.

Now, at the end of Day 3 of 60, my to-do list is the same as ever and Alaska is no closer.

 

 

 

 

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An Auspicious Start

Ever have those situations when the yellow/red flags are waving, and you spend all your time trying to decide if the flag is yellow or red? Instead of wondering what’s causing the flag to wave in the first place??

Our Intended Route in Red. Taking the time to get away from the coast seemed best for the forecast winds at the time.

Welcome to my world.

Brian and Mark arrived Sunday, the 29th of April. I was a bundle of nerves, due to:

  • The normal stress of starting a long trip,
  • The stress of having crew to keep happy,
  • I still had to check out of the port Monday morning,
  • Having decided to have the boat yard, do the transmission seals, they did not take credit card, so I must figure out a way to get $1000 in cash by Monday morning.

My Monday noon, all the problems were solved, and I was feeling pretty good. I had good, intrepid crew. We had food, wine and booze enough for however long a cruise the weather would allow.

With a crew of two, plus me, we had 205 gallons of fuel in the port tank, 210 in the stbd tank, 55 gallons of water in the port water tank and the stbd tank was empty (to be filled with the water maker while underway).

The track from the InReach at Share.Delorme.com/Dauntless
(If you go to that site, I do not know why the time is 12 hours off)

Engine start was at 12:25, we got underway 10 minutes later, clearing the breakwater at 12:45, on the way to either Can San Lucas, 950 miles northwest (7 days) or maybe even Ensenada, which was another 700 miles further north (another 5 days).

So, at the beginning of a 7 to 12-day passage, my sense of well-being lasted 20 minutes, or about 2 miles.

Clearing the breakwater, we set the course SSW to clear the coast before turning west, then WNW.

The bilge alarm sounded 20 minutes later, (a buzzer that

The Coastal Explorer, C-Map chart

is activated whenever the bilge pump is on), went off, and then sounded again a few minutes later. That was not normal. Thinking the stuffing box again, I left Brian at the helm, while I went to open the salon hatch to the engine room.

Stuffing box was not leaking, but I did see a pinhole leak that was spraying water from the oil heat exchanger. Umm, it’s a pinhole leak, sea water, yet the bilge pump had been on enough to pump much more water? What’s going on.

A minute later, as the engine overheat alarm sounded, it all became crystal clear. Shut down the engine, but we were less than a mile from the rocky shore.

Mark and Brian relax the night before our eventful trip

The engine coolant hose (a heater hose) from the engine to the water heater had failed at the nipple to the water heater. It has dumped all our coolant into the bilge. We were 6/10ths of a mile from shore; a very rocky shore. So, first thing I did was fill the engine coolant tank with fresh water using the garden hose the first owner had installed in the engine room just after the fresh water pump. It was good to know that I had a source of fresh water for the engine that I could use in a critical situation.

If push came to shove, I’d stick the nose nozzle in the coolant fill and turn it on, to keep water in the engine if I needed to start the engine before the repair was done.  We were in 160 feet of water, so I also had the option of dropping anchor.

Lines stored behind the fly bridge ladder

Had I had a problem that was going to take longer to fix, or if I did not have fresh water available, or if I was alone, I would have let out 200 feet of anchor and chain, knowing that the anchor would set itself as the water shallowed. This is the emergency anchoring plan I always have in the back of my head while cruising near shore. In still deeper water, with no shelf, I would combine my two anchor rodes, the secondary being 50 feet of chain and 250 feet of rode (400’ of 3/8” BBB chain on the primary with 55# Delta anchor).

I also have stored behind the salon between the upper deck ladder:

  • a 500-foot line,
  • a 250’ line,
  • a couple of 50’ lines,
  • a few shorter line,
  • the stern anchor) Bruce) and it’s 300 feet of rode on a hose reel.

 

These lines can all be easily retrieved and used as necessary.

Had I been alone, that’s what I would have done, while turning the boat around and heading back to the marina on auto pilot. I could have then re-fit the hose, knowing I had at least 15 minutes before I needed a course correction.

But I was not alone.

With Brian at the helm, responsible for watching our drift, Mark and I proceeded to deal with our two problems, the coolant hose and the pin hole oil cooler leak.

The coolant hose was easily dealt with. Cut off the end and reattach to nipple. I then checked for leaks, as we started the engine. No leaks, so I filled the coolant tank with ¾ gallon of coolant. This all took 10 minutes.

Next to tackle the oil cooler. We first tried a quick repair; can we stop the leak enough until our next port.  No, we couldn’t, the metal at the cap end from which it was leaking was too thin. (these were the heat exchangers that had just been supposedly checked. In addition, I’m sure this was the one that was already leaking, and I told them to keep it).

Checking the situation at the helm, while we were drifting towards shore, we were drifting very slowly and again with Brian watching, I knew we would have plenty of warning should an issue arrive. Therefore, we decided to change the oil cooler.

What a PIA. But an hour later we were all done. No leaks of oil, water, or anything.

It’s on my must do list this fall to standardize all my hydraulic and oil fittings. Thus, making it easier to replace lines or bypass the coolers if need be.

We had drifted a quarter mile closer to shore, we still had a third of a mile to spare. Easy Peasy as Micah would say.

Knowing we could return to the marina easily, reduced the stress of this repair. It wasn’t “fix, or else” like it may have been in the middle of the Atlantic, like with my imaginary fuel leak.

At 14:10 we were underway again.

My peace of mind now lasted one minute.

The autopilot was not working. It thought it was working, but it wouldn’t steer correctly.

Back to the rear of the engine room, I looked at my Octopus pump, it looked ok, no major leaks, then I saw the three valves which control fluid to the pump, allowing me to change pump without draining all the hydraulic fluid from the system, were closed.

Oops.  At least that was easy.

A minute later, we were underway again, hopefully to Cabo San Lucas.

This time my peace of mind lasted a whole two hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting the Show on the Road

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

Having gotten my toothache taken care of by having a root canal the first evening I was back in Huatulco, I was finally felling pretty good. The previous 5 days were a whirlwind of: pain, getting things done in NY, flying to southern Mexico and getting back to Dauntless after 8 months.

All winter I’d been watching the weather and winds off the west coast of Mexico and California. Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes and his updated Pilot Charts of the Pacific had made it clear that I would have a slog ahead, commonly known as the Baja Bash.  2,000 miles of going northwest into predominantly northwest winds of anywhere from 5 to 30 knots.

JimmyCornell Ocean Atlas Monthly Pilot Charts for all the Oceans

As mush as I love my Kadey Krogen, it has gotten me safe and sound through so much; I hate head seas.

But I had a plan. A pretty good one I thought. It was clear from the above references that I would have at best 25% of the time favorable winds. For every one day of good winds, I’d have three days of head winds. But as we all know, weather works in averages. I couldn’t exactly count on moving one day and then resting the next three. I could just as eiasily see 7 favorable days and a month of head winds.

Over the winter I had planned for slogging up the coast. Getting back to Dauntless the last week in April. I would spend May getting her a bit more ready. Fixing, replacing somethings that needed it and completing some projects stared long ago, but never completed as we cruised from Ireland to the Pacific Ocean in a little less than a year’s time.

My transmission and damper plate

This plan would have me leaving Huatulco in June as hurricane season started.

Perfect.

The dominate weather pattern is only disrupted by the tropical cyclone pattern of tropical depressions growing to storms and possible hurricanes. Their anti-clockwise wind pattern disrupts the dominant high-pressure system causing the NW winds off the coast. I could have days and days of winds with some southerly component.

The normal position of the Pacific High. This year is has been stronger and more persistent.

The only downside of this plan was that should the strengthening tropical depression or storm head northeastward towards the coast, I’d have to have my hurricane holes laid out.  Also, single handing on this coast is difficult, as places to stop because of weather are few and far between. For example, there is no safe hurricane hole between Huatulco and Acapulco, 250 nm or two full days away.

In the previous months, I’d also sort of put it out there that I was looking for crew.  With crew and a longer weather window, we could get up the coast in some large chunks.  Maybe even get to Ensenada in a 10-day passage. That would be so wonderful.

Pilot chart for the Pacific off Mexico

In March, I had gotten an email from Brian, who was volunteering himself and another friend, Mark, to help me get Dauntless north. The only caveat was, their free time was in early to mid- May.

I was very happy. I had not thought it wise to do this coast alone.  Coastal cruising is totally different than crossing oceans. In the middle of the ocean there are no fishing boats, pangas or other stupid stuff. The large freighters you may occasionally see use AIS and keep their distance (once I upgraded to an AIS transceiver in 2014).

The only downside was the weather. In May, the winds are steady and strong from the NW.  No tropical disturbances to disturb that pattern.  During the entire spring the Pacific high that generates the strong easterly trade winds over Hawaii and been doing its job too well. I seldom saw weather windows of more than a couple of days and the 25% favorable time was more like 10%.

Stuffing box wrench

I’d also be a bit rushed to get Dauntless in the water. But I was less concerned about this, as she came out of the water with just a minor transmission leak, that had grown progressively worse over the pervious 2,000 miles. So, I decided to have the boat yard in Huatulco fix the leak. This turned out to be a $1,000 mistake. With my time frame of having to leave now to best make use of my available crew, it left no time for the yard to correct what they didn’t fix.

More and more I realize that I need to do virtually everything myself on Dauntless. I hate paying someone for a half ass job, when I know that I can just as easily to my own half assed job for free!

Dauntless goes into water

I also felt time pressure because Brian had crewed with me on Dauntless two years ago from Ireland to Scotland and he had had to wait several days for the boat yard in New Ross to get everything done. I didn’t want to make him wait again. And yes, I know not to let a schedule dictate actions, but no matter what, I, as skipper feel and am responsible.

The only things that had been done was the transmission seals and I had removed all the heat exchangers, as one had a pinhole leak and I wanted them all, including my spares, checked and tested.

We ended up splashing the boat right on schedule, a couple days before Brian showed up. This whole sequence left a lot to be desired on my part.

My original plan was to do a little test run of an hour to make sure all systems were Go. But once they put Dauntless in the water, the winds were strong, against the marina, in fact, the port may have been closed, but in any case, with such winds, I wanted to only tie up once, not twice. As it was I had a hard-enough time getting the boat into her slip and at one point was 90° off. I had to rig a spring line around the piling that we were pressed against and use that to turn the boat to face the slip.

No, a test run was out. I felt lucky that I got Dauntless into the slip without damage. I didn’t want to press my luck. In hindsight, this was not the best decision, but it seemed so under the current circumstances.

Once in the slip, with the engine room bilge pump alarm was going off continuously, I was reminded that I should have checked the stuffing box while still on the dolly. Water was pouring into the boat.

After the initial cursing myself for not checking before, I realized the bilge pump was keeping up, barely.

I got my chain wrench and locking pliers and within a few minutes (unlike previous times), the nut was unlocked, and I could tighten the shaft nut my hand until most of the water stopped.

We were good to go, or so I thought.

Dauntless Redux

The New D
The New Dauntless on a mooring in Scotland, flying her purple Kadey Krogen flag.

Just in case you missed it, here are the pictures of Dauntless, before and after her winter in Ireland.

It was a transformative time!

In the Begining. 3 years ago
In the Beginning. 3 years ago

When I get back to Dauntless in a couple of weeks, it will be time to get her wet again.

20160928_105402
The New Dauntless, on the hard. The missing anti-foul was caused by straps of the travel lift. The green sheen is organic growth just above the anti-foul.

Then, just days later, we will take the first steps in our voyage back to North America.

I will miss Ireland.  I will miss the friends I made and the people who worked on Dauntless like she was their own.  We’ll have to make it back there some day.

Gary Mooney, the GRP and Painter, was meticulous in mixing and applying the AWLGRIP paints.
Gary Mooney, the GRP and Painter, was meticulous in mixing and applying the AWLGRIP paints.
This is the layer of the undercoat for the anti-foul going on.
This is the layer of the undercoat for the anti-foul going on.
Gary applying the first layer of epoxy
Gary applying the first layer of epoxy
The New Anti-Foul. The scrapes pulled off some of the undercoat.
The New Anti-Foul. The scrapes pulled off some of the undercoat.
My latest scratch/scrape
My latest scratch/scrape
Fall 2015
Fall 2015 Dauntless is strapped down for the winter. Dauntless was hit by winds of over 100 mph this past winter while in New Ross. But since it wasnt a “named” storm, it was just another winter in the northern Atlantic and therefore boats are strapped down.
May 2015
May 2015
The Krogen out of the water
The Krogen out of the water

The Great Battery Caper

After months of planning, thinking and just plain fretting, the batteries are in and Dauntless is no longer acting like a one legged duck.

Another Gorgeous Sunset
Another Gorgeous Sunset

How do one legged ducks act you wonder? Without the engine running or being plugged into shore power, we had only a few minutes’ worth of electrical power.

Two of the Four New Yuasa Batteries
Two of the Four New Yuasa Batteries

And I’d go to sleep, not with visions of sugar plum faeries (or better yet, leggy milf’s) dancing in my head, but with pictures of wiring diagrams and this and that.

So, having found replacement batteries in Kilmore Quay’s Kehoe Marine last month, they got four Yuasa Cargo Deep Cycle GM batteries that were of 8-D size, with 230 amp-hours each for me. Weighing in at 55 kg, or 115 lbs. each and delivered to the Kehoe boys at New Ross Boat Yard (yes, of course they are related).

Waiting for high tide, when the dock was only a few feet above the floating pontoon, we got the batteries on to the boat without dropping them into the water.

Then, the hardest part physically, getting the old batteries out.  Perhaps with the knowledge that we could not hurt them, it took us less than an hour to get them out.

I then spent the next few hours re-configuring how the batteries were connected.  I essentially made a positive and negative stud that consolidated the all the connections before they went to the batteries.

My friend Ed had given me a new article about the optimum way to connect multiple batteries that was slightly superior to the way I had the older batteries connected.  I had had 8 new battery cables made, 2 for each battery, each 2.3 meters long (about 7 feet).  This allowed the four batteries to have the exact same length cable to each from the charging source.  By having the same cable lengths, the resistance should be equal and thus each battery should get exactly the same amount of charge.

That took a few hours, with a panicked call to Dave Arnold, the electrical guru (who else would be driving around an all-electric car for the 1980’s!).

His call reaffirmed the use of the existing terminal block and Perko switch that was used to switch the start to the house batteries if needed.

Finally, after 8 hours, I was ready for the new batteries.  I rigged an Amstel line around the hand railing to the pilot house, thus we could lower the batteries into the engine room and the only struggle was to pull them into place while lowering at the same time.

Two hours later, all was in place, hooked up and ready to go.

All the boat grounds go to a common terminal, then one large cable to the boat side of the Victron battery Monitor shunt.  Then one large cable to another terminal post which has all four negative battery cables.

Positives are similar, in that the inverter/charger, the positive from the alternator and the positive from the terminal block (which has a number of inputs from the isolators and thus indirect from the other battery chargers) go to a terminal post, then all 4 battery cables are attached.

In the next days/weeks, as I physically tie the lines and organize a bit more, I will make a new electrical diagram.

Now, according to my calculations, all the rest of the year should be downhill!

 

 

D-Day Minus One

Ever wonder what the “D” stands for? My first thought I thought it was for “Deployment”, then I was thinking how it was used in the U.S. Air Force and it was more like the first day the plan is executed.  This is the day everything starts. Though I can understand the reluctance to call it “E-Day” as in Execution.

Dauntless Waits to be Unleashed
Dauntless Waits to be Unleashed

So, I think it just becomes “D” as in Day.  Meaning on this day, “D- Day” something is going to happen/begin.

You would think I would know. Why, you wonder?  Well truth be told, I was in war plans for 4 years. Puzzled face? What does that mean?  It means, I was responsible for writing the section of the war plan that dealt with weather support.  I worked with my Air Force counterparts, each of us in a critical specialty and we figured out how shit would get done.

Our new Rudder Zinc and Salca, zinc and cutter combination ($60)
Our new Rudder Zinc and Salca, zinc and cutter combination ($60). http://www.zincwarehouse.com/shaft-anodes/salca-line-cutter-3.html

Sadly, you had to know this did not turn out well, it was only during my second two-year assignment that I discovered that was plans was very bad for your career.  But I actually knew this going in, I did not care, I loved the “Plans Shop”.  All the thinking people in the military were there, pilots, logistics, special operations, personnel, etc.  We were the nerds of the USAF.  I met a lot of great people, some of the most intelligent and interesting (because they had actually done stuff and knew stuff) people I ever worked with.

Though even worse and truly tragic was the fact that the Air Force (and probably all military) having had people assigned to look at a particular problem, region, country and countless different factors and scenarios pretty much 24/7 since time began and then develop a “Plan” that would actually be successful.  But then, when they really needed the Plan, would then totally ignore it due to “political” reasons, by both military and civilian leaders.

And we all know how well that turned out, from Vietnam thru Iraq.

But now we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.

So I’m eating a cookie and drinking a glass of Claret in my cabin.

Just goes to show you how discombobulated I feel. I never eat nor drink in my cabin, that’s almost as bad as eating in the bathroom!

But the boat is as disorganized as ever since the work in the Engine Room is still not 100% finished!!!, therefore the two hatches are still open in the salon. Coupled with the fact, that the boat gets very cold every night, it’s only 56F outside, so the shed is like 57.5.

Even my Claret tastes like it just came from the fridge; well the steady coolness of Dauntless does have its advantages, at least I don’t have to keep the mayonnaise in the fridge.

I just came back from Waterford, having eaten in the best southeast Asian restaurant in Northern Europe (no, that’s not an exaggeration).

Tomorrow we, Dauntless and I, go into the water for the first time since October.  Am I nervous, why else would I be eating in my cabin? And that is not to mean eating in bed. I never eat in bed. I think I did once, only to discover that you had to then sleep with the crumbs.  Forgetaboutit.

Also, having gotten past the interesting, but short lived, period of the food and sex combination, I am quite content to keep everything in its place.

Now, if I only had not taken it out of its place in the first place, then everything would be in its place.

Tomorrow, it’s sink or swim with the big boys.

You can track our progress or lack thereof at https://share.delorme.com/dauntless.  This will give you the location of Dauntless every 10 minutes until the end of time or I stop paying the bill, whichever comes first.

Dauntless Lurks in the Dusk

While Dauntless is preparing for her debut, my back is complaining that it can’t support the lifestyle my mind demands.wp-1464291867861.jpg

So I thought the analogy of a car stuck in the snow, with spinning tires was a pretty good.  But now I have a little additional bit.

Last night, before bed, I wrote about the simple 3 goals in 3 days’ plan.  Still has a ring to it. I got about half a day’s stuff done; only took me 18 hours.  At this rate, I have my three days of goals done sometime next month.  But I digress.

Well, my mind was having none of it.  At 4 a.m. this morning, it decided that I had to also rig the new rocker stoppers.  Things that replace the paravanes birds while the boat is at anchor and not moving.  So in the dreamy state of half sleep, half awake, my mind started spinning about new riggings.

And spinning and spinning.

Finally, at 5 a.m., still not sleeping, I decided to get up.  Within minutes of actually being awake, I realized I had just spent the last hour spinning my wheels fruitlessly.

But then I thought, was I really spinning my wheels?  I think in that half-awake state, it’s like the car is still stuck in the snow and you are stepping on the gas, revving the engine, but going no place.  But the wheels are not even spinning, you may think they are spinning, but the car is actually not even in gear!

Because within seconds of actually being awake, I realized I had no issue, as I had not planned on rigging the rocker stoppers any time soon any way.

 

 

Three Goals in Three Days

I can handle that.  In the middle of the night, it finally dawned on me that I needed a goat that I could accomplish in one day.

As Ziggy Stardust would say, Wham, Bam, Thank you, Ma’am.

Otherwise my brain just keep spinning, like tires spinning in the snow going no where. Not fun. Well, at least I can’t freeze to death unlike some other interesting times in my life.

So today, I awoke with a doable goal, finish the fly bridge projects, mostly fixing my VHF antennas, check the winch switches and spreader lights.

So by 5 p.m. all was done, two antennas fixed, at least one working, lights, switches all done and that stupid 8-foot VHF antenna, fixed, I think.

Good enough for government work. I don’t know who said that, I don’t think it was the Spiders from Mars. No, they are all over the boat.

The AwlGrip painting is done, virtually all of it. We’ll be putting on the bits we took off during the next two days.

The bottom is almost done.  Two layers of epoxy, one tie coat, another primer coat for the new anti-foul and one anti-foul coat is on.  One more to do tomorrow.

The prop got this new age treatment.  Supposed to work much like “Prop Speed” (more efficiently), with an etching primer and

A typical tree lined road. I will truly miss the beauty of Ireland and it's warm denizens.
A typical tree lined road. I will truly miss the beauty of Ireland and it’s warm denizens.

then a silicon overcoat (it feels like really smooth rubber), but at 1/10 the cost of Prop Speed.  Don’t have much to lose there.  I trust my Irish brothers.

Fuel tank pieces are finally done and getting installed tomorrow.

The prop after "Prop One" application: a yellow etching primer, followed by a silicon clear coat. It takes three days to cure.
The prop after “Prop One” application: a yellow etching primer, followed by a silicon clear coat.
It takes three days to cure.

My task tomorrow, put all my tools and parts away and install my driving lights.

Friday’s task, get the boat ready to go, re-rig the mast and paravanes poles, sort out the engine room, get her ready to splash on Saturday.

Saturday, high tide is at 11:04 a.m., so we will go into the water around 9.  I’ll do a few figure 8’s in the river, wave at the tourists shaking JFK’s hand and dock again.  I’ll then change the warmed up oil, check the fuel filters and wait for the fuel truck to come and give me 1000 liters for 580 Euros.

Not bad, two years ago it would have been 1400 Euros.  I would have to stay home.

Fueling should be done by noon, at which point the ebbing water should be picking up the pace, as I will to.

One long blast on the horn to warn everyone that I am either coming or going, depending upon your perspective and it’s on the Dunmore East to wait for the change of tide.

 

Why I Am Not Afraid

 

The New Dauntless As Tasty As Ever
Dauntless – As Tasty As Ever

Being in the New Ross Boat Yard daily, now in the spring, almost daily I run into people who ask me about our passage across the Atlantic.  They always ask if I was ever afraid.  Yes, inwardly I do roll my eyes, but now I have my answer down rote, I was never afraid, but certainly miserable at times.

Every once in a while, sensing they actually may want a more reasoned response, I start talking about Kadey Krogen and this KK42 and what makes her so suited to where and how we go; at least until their eyes glaze over.

Knowing almost nothing about fiberglass, other than it’s made of fiber + glass, I have been talking to Gary Mooney, the GRP (fiberglass) expert of the area who has been working on Dauntless this winter and has a lifetime of experience with it on boats and all sorts of other objects.

We’ve talked about the repairs he made on Dauntless, first there were two problems in the hull:

  1. The four-foot-long hairline crack that I put in the hull the past July in Finland.
  2. An older, badly repaired, thru-hull fitting, also in the forward bilge, that was haphazardly done and allowed water into the hull and was the source of the water in the amidships-forward compartment bulkhead.

So this got us talking about the Krogen hull, in particular, which is a cored, also called sandwich, hull:

  1. there is a layer of fiberglass,
  2. then the core, in this case, a white non-water absorbing Styrofoam like stuff,
  3. then another layer of fiberglass.
  4. This is then covered by a gelcoat layer, making the fiberglass impervious to water.
  5. Then a two-part epoxy coat is put on to protect the gel coat, Dauntless gets two coats of that,
  6. A “Tie-coat” comes next, this tie-coat allows the anti-foul paint to adhere to the epoxy,
  7. And lastly comes the anti-foul coating. I am going to try a semi-hard coating, purposely made for very slow boats like Dauntless.  It’s said to last 5 years and be smooth enough to slightly reduce fuel consumption. I’ll be happy if it lasts three years and doesn’t hurt fuel consumption.

This boat yard really caters to the commercial boats, so things like the anti-foul, are all things the fishing boats and trawlers (real ones) use and like.

So, talking of hulls with Gary, I asked him about solid fiberglass hulls.  It’s clearly touted in the USA as a “better” meaning safer solution.  He scoffed at that, saying that most of the fishing boats here use solid hulls to make them stronger in terms of cargo and heavy equipment, but it also makes them more fragile.

A cored hull has much more flexibility, thus I could hit a rock as I did and the hull flexed enough to crack both the inner and outer layers of fiberglass.  Had the hull been solid fiberglass, it’s likely it would have broken in big chunks leaving a meter-long hole in the hull.

This happened recently to a FV just off the coast. Had they not been minutes from shore, they would have sunk. I on the other hand, carried on for another 3 months totally oblivious!

A reliable source tells me that Jim Krogen was always a proponent of the cored hull (sandwich construction) and only succumbed to public perception in the mid-90’s when they changed to making solid fiberglass hulls, below the waterline.  Besides better shear strength (as my encounter with the rock showed), a cored hull also provides better acoustical and thermal insulation, when compared to solid fiberglass.  This past winter, sitting outside in the wind and rain, Dauntless was dry as a bone inside, while many other boats with solid hulls, had condensation running off the walls forming little lakes. My storm windows also helped in that regard.

Dauntless was no. 148 in the 42-foot series and was made in 1988.  Newer isn’t always better.

This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.
This is a cutout of the gunnel (upper hull) showing a layer of fiberglass on top of balsa squares.

Our hull above the rub rail to the cap rail, the gunnel, also has sandwich or cored construction, but in this case, the core is much thicker, made of blocks of balsa wood and has an inner and outer wall for added strength. Also, cored hulls do provide additional buoyancy. Clearly one of the reasons that when hove-to the boat bobs morthan rolls in big seas.

Which gets to the basis of why I am not afraid.The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.

The same cutout from another angle. The squares of balsa are easier to see.It was certainly not due to my experience as a mariner!  I’m probably in the bottom 2% of experience as a mariner.

But I am probably in the top 2% of researchers and I know the difference between opinion and fact.

For 5 years before we purchased this boat, I read, I studied and I determined what capabilities a small (that I could afford) boat

needed to have to be able to travel the world, cross oceans and yet have the comforts of home. I wasn’t going to live like a monk after all.

That process of research and reading every story of ocean crossings I could find, led me to this Kadey Krogen 42.  I knew this boat could handle the worst conditions, whether I was miserable or not.

My friend Larry said it this way, when we got in those chaotic

This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.
This is what was cut out of the inner gunnel. The picture below is the piece on the right.

seas, 6-12 feet, short period, from all directions, off the coast of France last summer, Dauntless just seemed to settle in and not fight it. We were hanging on for dear life and she was just motoring along, wondering what all the fuss was about.

James Krogen knew how to design and build a boat that could do anything asked of it, be it bringing us home from a week-end jaunt or around the world.

That’s why I’m not afraid.

 

 

 

Time is Flying; But My Head is in the Clouds

Or am I flying and that’s why my head is in the clouds?

Such weighty questions, so little time.

What else is new, as my friends would say?

Nice view of the River Barrow & Stratocumulus clouds
Nice view of the River Barrow & Stratocumulus clouds

I did make a list of all the things that still need to be done between now and the next few weeks.  It’s a long list.  Most of the small things I will do, as few big things are being done by the painter Gary and the Boat Yard.  So, what’s still to be done:

  • Electrical
    1. Run new VHF cable to the two radios
    2. Replace plugs for Navigation lights
    3. Add Name Board lights
    4. Install new Driving lights
    5. Add USB ports in salon and second cabin
    6. Add new switch and breaker panel for fridge/freezer in pilot house
    7. Add switch panel for solar panels
  • Forward Bilge
    1. Complete hookup of New Vetus holding tank, with new fittings and electrical
    2. Install new bilge pump (old one becomes spare) with new check valve
    3. Make additional fresh water hookup and run hose to forward compartment for Raritan Purisan
    4. Check connections for salt water pump (new, hasn’t worked since installed)
    5. We found a bare wall bulkhead in front of old holding tank. Gary sealed it and put Gelcoat on it.
    6. Check all clamps for the multitude of thru hulls in this area
  • Anchor Locker
    1. Pull all the chain and rode out for both anchors
    2. Vacuum the bottom of chain locker
    3. Replace two deck fittings for fresh & salt water connections
    4. Re-mark and reverse anchor chain
    5. Add 90 feet polypropylene to end of chain rode (this is because it floats, making it easier to find should I have to abandon anchor with no time for anything else)
    6. Paint anchors
    7. Find third anchor for stern
    8. Make up a new, longer chain snubber
  • Paravanes
    1. Restring birds to new line, 3/16” Amsteel, so that I can modify the depth of the birds.
    2. Boat Yard is making rocker stoppers for me to use while at anchor
  • Wood Trim
    1. Teak “eyebrow” around pilot house has been scrapped and sanded thanks to Leonie & Martin. I will put Tung Oil on it and see how that works.
    2. Oil all the benches that have been sanded
  • New Ross Boat Yard and Gary are completing:
    1. Port fuel tank sealant and new inspection ports
    2. New bottom job, with two coats of epoxy and one of a tie-coat
    3. New anti-foul by International, a semi-hard coating that is made for slow boats like Dauntless and should last at least a few years.
    4. Painting of the hull from the cap rails down, including the bow pulpit
    5. Fixing on of the side doors that while latched open this past winter the winds ripped if off the hook and broke the entire frame. (winds this winter were higher than 100 knots or 110 mph.
    6. New Bow thruster blades

That’s pretty much it for me!  I figure realistically, this list will be complete my 2018, though I will strive to get most of it done sooner.20160503_112928.jpg

Just goes to show that one thing I do well is plan; not so well, do.

I need a real doer in my life.